I thought I was losing my mind. I wasn’t acting like myself and I didn’t know why. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.
Last year was hard for everyone. It was hard for me, too…but not just because of these Covid shenanigans.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am the second youngest of 9 kids. We were raised on a farm with a large garden and lots of daily chores. There were always things to do and always people around. There was a daily hustle and bustle that swept me up and kept me moving. Parents and older siblings telling me where to go, what to do. I didn’t mind that. I was perfectly fine to follow along.
About 6 years ago, my younger sister and I moved out of our parents’ house into her new house. Just the 2 of us. We became very close friends. Living together. Working together. Walking together. Shopping together. We did everything together. I was perfectly fine to follow along.
Then things changed.
She found a wonderful man…
…and I lost my mind.
I was beyond miserable. Beyond depressed. It felt like it was more than just a rug that was pulled out from under me; I had no ground under me at all. I didn’t understand anything that was happening. I should have been happy. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be that best friend with whom she could relive her wonderful dates and share all the details, but I couldn’t. Something in me was broken. I was broken.
Over a couple months, I experienced a few episodes of intense anxiety, that caused me to brace myself with my hands on my knees or on a table just to hold myself upright as I tried to catch my breath. And there were more than a few nights I’d fall asleep on a pillow wet with tears.
What was going on?!
This response was more than what the situation warranted. I understood feeling jealous or hurt…and these feelings were there but they were overshadowed by something. Something much bigger. Something that felt much darker. And to make matters worse, I judged myself. “Come on, Louise! You teach stress-conquering tools. Conquer this! You fraud!”
I learned that I was going through what is called the “dark night of the soul”- the collapse of a perceived meaning in life, where nothing makes sense and there is no purpose to anything. The only light in this dark night is that which burns in the soul.
But how do I get to that light?
Luckily, around this time, I was reading about the Enneagram. It has roots in psychology and spirituality- like a bridge between the two. It is a system that identifies 9 personality patterns, named Type 1 through Type 9. Each personality pattern or type emerges from a core fear and core desire. Those are the key motivations - the REASON - for the behaviour of the individual.
It didn’t take much for me to recognize my type: Type 9. Core desire: to be at peace. Core fear: separation, loss, and conflict.
It suddenly all made sense! The way I felt made sense! My life made sense! My deepest fear was triggered by my situation!
The Enneagram showed me that I wasn’t broken; I was actually playing out a predictable, yet unconscious pattern. A pattern that I was actually following right from the beginning. See, a person with the Type 9 personality is typically “perfectly fine to follow along” because they are motivated by their core desire to be at peace. By not following along, one risks disturbing the peace, causing conflict and even potential separation- the core fear of the Type 9.
As much as “keeping peace” may be a desirable trait, out of balance, it can be a curse. My whole life, I was completely content to “go along”, but somewhere along the way, “I” got lost. What do “I” want? What are “my” goals? What am “I” doing with “my” life?
Throughout my whole life, there was always someone to follow. But now I could not follow. I had to lead myself. Lead my life. My situation was pushing me to grow, to find “me”, to find the balance of “peace-keeping” and asserting myself.
With the Enneagram (and an Enneagram coach), I got in touch with the balance/the light/the Divine/God/wholeness in my soul. I was able to have more compassion for myself and I was able to lovingly encourage myself to GROW through this challenge, this “dark night of the soul”.
Would I have fallen into that “dark night” if I had known the Enneagram? I can’t answer that for sure. But I don’t think so. At least I don’t think it would have been nearly as dark or for as long.
Would I still be in that “dark night” if I didn’t learn the Enneagram? Again, I really don’t know for sure. But I do know that I wouldn’t be this far along to healing such deep wounds. The Enneagram has been a crucial part of my personal and spiritual journey.
It is because of my story that I have become a Certified Enneagram Coach and I’m passionate about sharing the Enneagram with you. You don’t have to be in the depths of darkness to benefit from knowing it. No matter where you are on your journey, or what stage of life you’re in, I want to help you discover the pattern of your personality and learn why you do, feel, and act the way you do so you, too, can better understand yourself, find freedom, feel whole, get in touch with that light in your soul, and grow into a better version of yourself.
I know first-hand the power of the Enneagram. Please, let me share it with you.
Start your Enneagram Typing Session today!
Here's to conquering stress.
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